February 2023 – Olivia Blase
Who do I want to be?
Every new season of life gives us the opportunity to decide the answer to a very simple yet important question: who do I want to be?
What do I value most? What impact do I want to leave on the world? How do I want to interact with other people? How do I want to feel? What legacy do I want to leave? Whether you are a new parent, have started a new job, moved, are going through loss and heartbreak, etc., new life situations are opportunities for us to check in with ourselves and be intentional about the people we want to be.
In college I had to decide what kind of student I wanted to be. In my young adult life, I mostly questioned what kind of friend I was. Starting my first career and beyond (this journey definitely isn’t over), I was evaluating the type of employee I wanted to be. When I was a Leader in Crave III, I wrestled with my identity as a white woman, as well as my role in our world as a person who wants to use her gifts for good and justice.
My newest adventure, living in Spain and teaching English, has forced me to address my identity as an American. This has been an especially interesting experience while living in Europe where everyone has an opinion about the USA. Some people thank me for how the States intervened in World War II. Others complain to me about how we get involved in everything globally. Some gush to me how much they love the USA, and others plainly tell me that they hate our country.
At first, all of this mixed feedback caused me to close up and try to hide my “Americanness”. I was confused about what it meant to be me in a place where everyone has an opinion about me. So instead of dealing with the question of “who do I want to be?” I clammed up and let others decide [for me] who I was to them. Let me tell you something – that didn’t work so well. I have spent so much time and energy wrestling with my identity on others’ opinions, yet I was wasting the opportunity to decide who I am going to be and what I am going to represent.
And of course, my identity both encompasses and extends beyond being American – or being a friend, a woman, caucasian, a student, an employee. Much of who I decide to be is exemplified by being a part of the Crave family, a community that loves, embraces, empowers, and emboldens people who are curious, passionate, generous, humble, and not afraid to bust boundaries for the good of others.
That is the kind of person I want to be. What about you?